Beacon Lesson Plan Library
Speed & Velocity with Straw Rockets
Okaloosa County Schools
What is speed? What is velocity? It what ways are they the same? In what ways are they different? How do you calculate them? In this lesson, students explore speed and velocity with Straw Rockets.
The student knows that speed, velocity, and acceleration can be calculated, estimated, and defined.
-Stop Watches (1/group)
-Meter Sticks (1/group)
-4 cm x 28 cm strip of paper (1/student)
-Instruction Handout (1/student) – (see Web link)
-Data Table Handout (1/student)
1. Download instructions for building Straw Rockets from http://lifesci3.arc.nasa.gov/SpaceSettlement/teacher/lessons/contributed/thomas/rocket/build.gif.
2. Download Straw Rockets Data Table from Associated Files.
3. Make copies of instructions and data table handouts (1/student).
4. For a class of 30, Gather 30 straws, 10 stop watches, 10 meter sticks, tape, and 10 compasses.
5. Pre-determine outside area for launching rockets.
1. Write the following question on the board: Can you think of any ways that the data we collected yesterday is related?
1. Pass out instructions for building Straw Rockets from http://lifesci3.arc.nasa.gov/SpaceSettlement/teacher/lessons/contributed/thomas/rocket/build.gif.
2. Direct the students to collect materials for building their Straw Rocket (straw, paper strip, scissors and tape).
3. Using instructions, students build and test Straw Rockets.
4. Pass out Straw Rockets Data Table from Associated Files.
5. Instruct students to form groups of no more than three.
6. Tell the students to collect materials for launching their Straw Rocket (stop watches, meter sticks, compasses – 1/group of each).
7. Take students outside to a pre-determined area.
8. Tell students they should be sure to make the best measurements possible because they will be using the data the following day.
9. Tell the students to launch their rockets 5 times, measuring and recording distance, time and direction.
10. Tell the students to keep handouts to use the next day.
1. As students enter the room, have them write the answer to the question on the board on a piece of paper. Question: Can you think of any ways that the data we collected yesterday is related?
2. Discuss the terms speed and velocity as written definitions (Speed is the distance traveled in an amount of time. Velocity is the distance traveled in an amount of time in a given direction. Velocity is speed with a direction.) and as formulae (speed=distance/time and velocity=distance/time + direction).
3. Ask the students how speed and velocity relate to the data collected the previous day.
4. Solve speed and velocity problems on the board as examples for the students. Answer any questions the students have at this time.
5. Tell the students they will be assessed on their abilities to write definitions for speed and velocity and their ability to calculate speed and velocity accurately.
6. Tell the students to take out their Straw Rockets Data Table.
7. Have the students, without looking at their notes, write definitions for speed and velocity and explain the relationship between the two on the back of the Straw Rockets Data Table handout.
8. Have the students practice calculating speed and velocity using the data from the 5 Straw Rocket launches.
9. Have the students hand in their papers to be formatively assessed.
•This assessment does not cover the acceleration or estimation parts of the standards.
Students write an accurate definition of speed and velocity and explain the relationship between the two.
Speed is the distance traveled in an amount of time. Velocity is the distance traveled in an amount of time in a given direction. Velocity is speed with a direction. Provide students with written feedback based on accuracy of their responses.
Students use data collected during experiment to calculate speed and velocity.
Problems are solved accurately 80% of the time. Provide students with correct answers to problems.
Handout needed on Day 1 to create Straw RocketsDirections for Making Straw Rockets
Straw Rockets Data Table
File Extension: pdf